Why Younger Audiences Are Spending More Time with Print Magazines; What Publishers Need to Know

young-woman-seated-reading-magazineThe value of print magazines in building trusted relationships with an audience cannot be matched by other channels…and younger readers continue to prefer print over digital for magazine consumption.

That’s just two of the insights Bob Wooton, principal at Deconstruction, brought away from Spark 2016, the annual magazine media conference put on by Magnetic. And those insights have a dramatic impact on how he views the role of published magazine content.

“There was new research from Magnetic, CV Research and Carat, developing and adding weight to the long-standing notion of the trusted, influential relationship that magazines, notably printed ones, have with their readers through their passions. Involvement and dwell time trumps even their own digital incarnations and shames other online channels,” Wooton explains in Campaign Live.

“Speaking from the floor, Pamco’s chief executive Simon Redican helpfully reminded delegates that talk of younger audiences forsaking classic media formats was overblown, and that they read more magazines than the population at large,” he continues.

This becomes increasingly important in light of what one speaker, Dr. Mary Aiken, had to say about the Internet.

“[Dr. Aiken] views the online search model as an ad-driven model, its algorithms designed to reap ad dollars. Just as it facilitates the pursuit of myriad interests and passions, so its filtering can also lead viewers into the extreme, unregulated and scary corners of the internet that increasingly concern society,” Wooton explains.

“Meanwhile, it’s clearer and clearer that prime media will somehow need to be nurtured and protected, lest their revenues continue to divert to online channels that create little original high-quality, professionally-curated content of their own,” he continues.

High-quality print content, he believes, is what will eventually win out: “…the proven trust and influence that such safe, professionally-curated content like magazines enjoy – and publishers have something with which to clearly and confidently differentiate their growing digital offerings from the sometimes darker and always open waters online.”

“Professional publishers should make much of this and advertisers too should take note. All media are not the same.”

We already know that Millennials are among the most aggressive ad-blocker users, and when it comes to content that matters, Millennials prefer it in print. Clearly, they value the idea of custom-crafted, artisanal content the same way they flock to craft beers.

As publishers look to the audience-first model, we believe print’s powerful role becomes even clearer.